I don’t know about you, but I haven’t spent a lot of time studying 1 Chronicles. My eyes were opened this week during our Advent reading though.
Many scholars believe Ezra to be the author of Chronicles, and 1 & 2 Chronicles are considered to be included a four-part series that also includes Ezra and Nehemiah. It was written around the time of Cyrus, King of Persia, who permitted the Israelite captives to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls and the temple. The words of this books are meant to remind these returning Israelites of their heritage. 1 Chronicles starts with a detailed genealogy from Adam to King David, then follows the reign of David.
What I found most fascinating is that the author leaves out the failings of David and his early life, but focuses the legacy of David: one that set a foundation of worship among the people.
Knowing this history opened my eyes to the words we read in Chapter 16 this week. The author takes us back to Saul’s death and David taking his place as king over Israel. Until this time, the Ark of the Covenant (the place where God’s glory dwelled) was still in the tabernacle in an area called Gibeon, about five miles away. But when David conquered Jerusalem, he had the ark moved to a tent in Jerusalem. What transpires in Chapter 16 is the first “worship service” after the ark arrives in the newly established City of David. It’s a call to Rejoice in His Works.
David brings together all the people of the region and appoints some of the Levites (those who were of the priestly line) to stand before the ark, praise God and play instruments. David then gave them a Psalm (a combination of Psalms 96, 105, & 106). In it, He calls the people of Israel to respond to God in several ways, but I want to focus on three charges that David gives:
A Charge to Thank Him
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
1 Chronicles 16:8-9
The first words out of David’s mouth as he shares this Psalm are calling upon the people to give thanks to God. The Hebrew word for Give Thanks physically means to hold one’s hand out, to throw, to cast. When used in this verse it’s to revere or worship (with extended hands). Several times throughout the passage, he tells the Israelites to sing to the Lord, rejoice in His works, declare His glory, sing His praise. God is worthy of our Praise. He has done wonderful works.
A Charge to Remember:
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
O offspring of Israel his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
Remember his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
1 Chronicles 16:12-15
David tells the Israelites to remember God’s covenants, His promises, but also His wondrous works. This is two-fold: we remember the greats acts He has done not only in our own personal lives, but also in the lives of others – both now and in history. We also remember His promises.
How do we remember His Promises? Read His Word.
We can’t know God’s true promises if we don’t read His Word. The more we read and study, the more we will learn about the character of God and the more we will recognize when He fulfills a promise in our lives.
How do we remember His Works? Write them down.
When a new trial comes along, it’s easy to forgot where we’ve seen Him work before. Likewise, when all seems to be going well, it’s equally as easy to forgot how God brought us to that point. You can create a note in your phone or keep a journal – whatever works best for you. I have loved going back to read journals I wrote and see how God worked in my life. I also love putting the pieces of scripture together to see how God fulfills His promises to His children.
A Charge to Tell Others
Back to v. 8 above, The Hebrew word for make known means show something to someone, teach, acquaint.
Satan loves nothing more than a Christian who keeps the miracles of God to themselves. He loves it when we keep our mouth shut, because he knows that our proclaiming God’s wondrous works have great power.
Revelation 12:11 tells us that we will overcome [the enemy] by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Our testimony means something. The story of the way you met Jesus has power. The story of how Jesus helped you overcome addiction has power. The story of how Jesus met you in the broken place and lifted you out of the pit has power. The story of how God never left you in the darkness has power. The story of how God provided for you, rescued you, held you, gifted you – it all has power to defeat Satan and bring others to God.
At the end of the Psalm, the people said “Amen” and praised the Lord. David charged the Levites he appointed to continue worshiping before the Ark, and the chapter concludes with this verse:
Then all the people departed each to his house, and David went home to bless his household. – 1 Chronicles 16:43
I love being in our worship services on the weekends, and many days I wish we could stand there forever, singing praises. But we must go home. We must go back into the world and, like David, bless our homes, our workplace, our school, our clubs, our friends, our families. We must tell of God’s wondrous works, how He’s changed our lives. The more we rejoice in His works, the more we read His word, the more we know His promises, the greater the blessing we will be to those around us.
It’s not too late to join our Advent Reading. Here’s the Conversation Card for Week 3: Rejoice in Weakness. Grab a girlfriend or two, go out for coffee and spend some time diving into God’s Word together.